Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coming after the arena opens, a follow-up study about traffic conditions

The Empire State Development Corporation has posted (also embedded below) 68 questions and responses from the 6/14/11 public meeting on traffic issues.

I've already highlighted some of the questions and responses, including the capacity of sidewalks on Dean Street, plans for the surface parking lot, and the impact of traffic on the Dean Street Playground.

Post-Arena Opening Traffic Study

The question:
3. When will the scope for a follow-up study be established? Will local Stakeholders (electeds, Community Boards and Community Members) have input into the scope? If there are additional changes that will affect traffic or pedestrian flow, what is the timeline for them and what processes will be used to consult the public?
The response:
As required by the FEIS, after the Arena opens, a traffic study will be done to provide information about traffic conditions in the area. The purpose of the study will be to optimize the implementation of the mitigation identified in the FEIS and to identify any further or different opportunities to improve traffic conditions. The study will evaluate the effectiveness of the Arena’s Transportation Demand Management Plan, an FEIS-required traffic mitigation measure that seeks to divert automotive traffic away from the Arena by encouraging the use of mass transit and parking at remote locations. The study will also consider the actual data about conditions after the Arena opening (the FEIS was able to consider only projected traffic conditions) to identify opportunities to improve traffic conditions and to optimize the implementation of any FEIS mitigation measures not implemented prior to the Arena opening. For example, in light of data about actual (rather than projected) traffic conditions after the Arena opens, it may be possible to improve upon signal timing recommendations made in the FEIS, as is common in other NYC projects that have a long lead time between the preparation of the FEIS and the construction of certain project elements. The study will also evaluate pedestrian issues in affected areas. This will be a public process, led by ESD and NYCDOT, and the public and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to review and comment on the scope of the study and its results and recommendations. At this time, FCRC is implementing most of the FEIS traffic mitigation for Phase I of the Project, while postponing implementation of certain traffic measures (such as the widening of 6th Avenue between Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue and the construction of additional lay-by lanes on 6th Avenue on the Arena block) at the direction of NYCDOT until after the Arena opens and data can be gathered as to how best to implement or improve upon the FEIS-required traffic measures. ESD has not approved changes to the FEIS traffic measures at this time.
Signal timing could change--but would ESD and NYCDOT, for example, decide that arena-bound pedestrians shouldn't be walking down narrow Dean Street between Carlton and Sixth avenues?

Timing issues

And when will this happen? Unclear, but surely after the first basketball season ends in spring 2013.

On 6/14/11, Empire State Development planner Rachel Shatz said at a public meeting, "The development of a scope for the monitoring plan for monitoring how effective these traffic changes are once the arena's open… is a tomorrow project for us at this moment. The most important thing right now is to have enough time is to have these roadway changes in place by the time the arena opens so the mitigation we envision can truly be tested, and hopefully work."

"We will be working with DOT [Department of Transportation] to develop that scope of work," she added, "and that will be shared with the community."

070811 Response to Questions re Traffic from June 14 Public Meeting

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